Rescue Pup Celebrates His Senior Years By Becoming “World’s Ugliest Dog”

The “World’s Ugliest Dog” contest had to be canceled the past two years due to the pandemic. But now, it’s back and more amusing than ever. Most people don’t like to think of their dogs as “ugly,” but these canines embrace their unique appearances while being great advocates for rescue dogs and abuse survivors.

Mr. Happy Face is the 2022 winner of the Ugliest Dog Contest, and he seems to be enjoying all the extra love and attention. This hairless canine had a rough life until recently, but his new human is making sure he has the best senior years possible. Not every elderly pup can say they won a well-known contest!

World's Ugliest Dog Winner

RELATED: World’s Ugliest Dog Competition Celebrates Adorable Rescue, Senior Pups And Their Stories

From Unwanted Shelter Dog to Celebrity

Janeda Banelly from Arizona wanted to adopt a shelter dog, but the pup she had her eye on already found a home. So, she asked to meet the most “unadoptable” dog they had, and out hobbled Mr. Happy Face.

The 17-year-old Chinese Crested mix has no hair on his body, except for a small mohawk on his head. His long tongue is always hanging out the side of his mouth, and he has a permanent head tilt. Banelly always found these qualities endearing, and many dog lovers would probably agree. So, despite the complications, she adopted him.

Mr. Happy Face came from a hoarding situation, and on his adoption day, he was suspected to only have a month to live. He had medications he’d need to take for life, and he has tumors and other issues related to inbreeding. Yet, Banelly has had Mr. Happy Face for ten months now, and he’s still thriving. All he needed was someone to give him extra love and care.

Close-up of World's Ugliest Dog

“He was the happiest creature that I had ever met,” Banelly said. “He hobbled up to me and chose me. I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been.”

A Last Minute Entry

The contest was held in Petaluma, California, which is quite a hike from Banelly’s Arizona home. Yet, she recently visited California to record her new radio show for indigenous youth. While she was there, a kid mentioned the ugly dog contest and suggested she enter Mr. Happy Face since they were nearby.

So, Banelly decided to enter her canine companion at the last minute. Mr. Happy Face can’t walk well, so he needs a stroller in public, but that only gave him an advantage when he arrived at the fairgrounds. Banelly knows her dog is adorable in a unique way, but she thought entering him in the contest would share a good message.

Woman hugging World's ugliest dog

“I believe that this humble soul is also being an example, in subtle ways, to help humans realize that even old dogs need love and a family too,” Banelly said.

Dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds competed, but Mr. Happy Face won! His victory brought another great story to the World’s Ugliest Dog competition’s legacy.

Congratulations, Mr. Happy Face!

Mr. Happy Face and Banelly won the grand prize of $1,500. They also got a trip to New York City so they could appear on The Today Show. The famous pup is now soaking up all the love from his new fans.

Top 3 ugliest dogs

But Mr. Happy Face wasn’t the only star that competed. Some other notable mentions are a Pekingese distemper survivor named Wild Thang (second place) and a Brussels Griffon named Monkey from a hoarding situation (third place).

“Since the ’70s, the Contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man’s (or woman’s) best friend,” a release said.

Looks aren’t the most important thing when adopting a dog, but instead, their personality is what should stand out the most. There are so many shelter dogs with rough pasts that just need someone to take a chance on them as Banelly did for Mr. Happy Face.

Featured Image: Facebook